Why are the chemical additives called phthalates banned in toys and products for children? Are your children’s toys and products SAFE? Are you sure they are phthalates-free? Does your child, like most children, mouth items around the house that does not fall under the safety guidelines for kids’ products? While researching to write this post on safe children’s toys and products. I learned a lot and I was shocked at what dangers are lurking in toy boxes, cupboards, and many other places in our homes! Like for many other topics, parents be informed, be fully aware of the safety regulations concerning the products that come in contact with your children.
What Are Phthalates? Where Are Phthalates Found? Why Ban Phthalates in Toys and Children’s Products?
Health Canada’s new restrictions on the use of six phthalates in children’s toys and products used in the care of children came into force on June 10, 2011. “These new regulations will ensure products that are imported, sold or advertised in Canada do not present a risk of phthalate exposure to children and infants.” Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq said in a statement.
Rick Smith, the executive director of Environmental Defence Canada, added: “Canada’s Phthalates Regulations are now aligned with measures taken in the United States and the European Union and will ensure our children receive the same high level of protection.”
How Do Phthalates Enter the Body?
Phthalates generally enter the body via inhalation or absorption. Health Canada says while the phthalates in most PVC does not constitute a health risk, phthalates can leach out of soft vinyl when the products are sucked or chewed, migrating into the body through the saliva and creating a health risk. When items containing phthalates are subjected to heat, like microwave ovens or from the sun, or as these items get older it accelerates their escape from the plastics.
Phthalates are also lipophilic, or attracted to fats. Fat present in blood can actually draw them out of IV bags, for example, and carry them into the body.
“Children are uniquely vulnerable to phthalate exposures given their hand-to-mouth behaviors, floor play, and developing nervous and reproductive systems,” says Sheela Sathyanarayana, an acting assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Washington
What Are Phthalates?
- Phthalates (pronounced “thah-lates”) are chemicals used to make a type of plastic called PVC (polyvinyl chloride).
- These chemical plasticizers have been widely used since the 1950s.
- They increase flexibility in plastic products, allowing them to bend without breaking.
Where Are Phthalates Found?
- Phthalates are in many household products, including adhesives, plastic wrap, plastic containers, flooring, furniture, wallpaper, shower curtains, window blinds, paint, and other things made of vinyl or PVC.
- They are in personal care items like soap, deodorants, perfumes, lotions, creams, and powders.
- These chemical additives are found in baby lotions, creams, and powders.
- They help lotions penetrate and soften the skin, and help fragrances last longer.
- Phthalates are in nail polish to prevent chipping and hair spray to prevent stiffness.
- They are in some soft plastic toys, teethers, bath books, polymer clays, baby bottles, etc.
- They are used to make soft plastic medical equipment, like bags for blood and intravenous fluids, catheters, tubing –even the ones used in the NICU and other baby and child care areas.
- Phthalates can be breathed in from dust or fumes from any products that contain vinyl, such as vinyl flooring, vinyl seating found in cars, and some diaper-changing mats.
- The production of fumes by these products is called off-gassing.
- Phthalates can cross the placenta, so they can be passed to a baby during pregnancy when the mother is exposed.
Why Ban Phthalates in Toys and Children’s Products?
- Phthalates are linked to various health problems.
- Phthalates are not chemically bound to the plastics they’re added to, they’re continuously released into the air or food or liquid.
- They are linked to genital and urinary malformations in boys.
- They may be the cause of some prostate cancers.
Studies have been made: “The animal studies suggest there is a potential for phthalates to impact birth outcomes, including gestational age and birth weight, fertility (lower sperm production), and anatomical abnormalities related to the male genitalia,” says Maida Galvez, a pediatrician and director of the Mount Sinai Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit in New York City. Galvez adds: “ Human studies are now looking at the relationship between phthalates and asthma. There are also studies examining whether phthalates influence the timing of puberty or the risk for childhood obesity.”
How to protect my family from phthalates?
- Choose products that are phthalate-free.
- Check that the product’s container is phthalate-free.
- To be sure use glass and stainless steel instead of plastic for water bottles, storage containers, and baby bottles…
- Don’t microwave food in plastic, and don’t put plastic containers in the dishwasher.
- Check the bottom of containers and choose those labeled #1, 2, 4, or 5, which are generally considered safer.
- Buy only plastics made of polyethylene or polypropylene plastics rather than vinyl or PVC.
- Be wary of hand-me-downs made of plastic because most will contain phthalates.
Is KidCompanions Chewelry Safe? YES!
Yes! KidCompanions Chewelry is made entirely of Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved materials to be chewed and bitten by kids. With a lot of research we have made a durable, colorful and safe chewable pendant. KidCompanions are SAFE, bpa, phthalate, pvc, lead and latex free accessories made for children, tweens and teens.
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is a federal agency in the Department of Health and Human Services established to regulate the release of new foods and health-related products.
What do I look for when checking labels for phthalates?
Here’s a list of the most common phthalates, which may come in handy for checking labels:
• DNOP (di-n-octyl phthalate)
• DiNP (diisononyl phthalate)
• DEP (diethyl phthalate)
• BBzP (benzyl butyl phthalate)
• DEHP (di 2-ethylhexl phthalate)
• DiDP (diisodecyl phthalate)
• DnHP (di-n-hexyl phthalate)
• DMP (dimethyl phthalate)
• DnOP (di-n-octylphthalate)
• Bisphenol A (BPA) is another plasticizer.
Industry Guide to Health Canada’s Safety Requirements for Children’s Toys and Related Products, 2012
Phthalates Regulations taken from their website.
The Phthalates Regulations under the CCPSA restrict the allowable concentrations of each of di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), dibutyl phthalate (DBP) and benzyl butyl phthalate (BBP) to not more than 1,000 mg/kg (0.1%) in the soft vinyl of toys and in the soft vinyl of child care articles:
In addition, the allowable concentrations of each of diisononyl phthalate (DINP), diisodecyl phthalate (DIDP) and di-n-octyl phthalate (DNOP) must not exceed 1,000 mg/kg (0.1%) in the soft vinyl of toys and in the soft vinyl of child care articles where the soft vinyl can, in a reasonably foreseeable manner, be placed in the mouth of a child under four years of age.
- The “under four years of age” qualification does not refer to the age classification of the toy. The DINP, DIDP and DNOP limit applies to all soft vinyl parts of a toy, regardless of the age of child it is intended to be used by, as long as the part can, in a reasonably foreseeable manner, be placed in the mouth of a child under four years of age.
- To identify a part of a toy that can be placed in the mouth of a child under four years of age it must be a part that can be brought to a child’s mouth and kept there so that it can be sucked or chewed and it must have one of its dimensions less than 5 cm. If the part of a toy is inflatable, its dimensions are determined in its deflated state.
Parents and other care givers must stay informed about safe children’s toys and products. Be vigilant because imported goods often do not pass US and Canadian standards but find their way in our homes, day cares, and unfortunately in our children. The reason phthalates are continuously released into the air, food, or liquids is that they are not chemically bound to the plastics. Have you seen brittle, hardened plastics? Then most likely the phthalates leached out leaving behind plastic that breaks as you try to pick it up. Arm yourself with knowledge about unsafe baby products and don’t PICK IT UP from the stores in the first place.
- Safety Tips for Parents Regarding Children’s Jewelry and Chewelry
- Yes, Moms, KidCompanions Chewelry Is a SAFE Sensory Oral-Motor Tool AND a Fidget